You want a million dollar business but your image screams $100 bucks. What’s up with that? You must invest in your brand if you want to attract premium clients. You cannot be the “DIY” guy that does the logo, website, business cards and photos. The way you present yourself in business is a powerful vehicle for promoting your company. Image is everything. You will attract substandard if you look like a mess. I’m just saying….
If you are an entrepreneur your goal is to have positive results with clients, both current and potential ones. But before you can get your foot in the door the first time–your brand image has to be attractive to your prospect. I talk about this in my other business, DBA. It’s the first system of our 7 Step System to Success. ATTRACTION. Some people would disagree but it’s true. You may be have the right message but the wrong brand. You can call and leave messages trying to set up an appointment but more than likely before you even get a call back – they will google you. And what show’s up online is their first impression of you. What will they see?
“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” Coco Chanel
Your image is made up of numerous elements, some you carefully cultivate and others you may not even be aware of. To give yourself an image “check up,” there are several areas you can look at:
- Others’ reactions to you. Other people’s initial reactions to you can tell you a lot about whether your image is working for you or against you. Ask yourself, do people assume you are a lot older or younger than you really are? Do people take you seriously, or do they seem unconvinced or dismissive? Are strangers surprised when you tell them what you do for a living?
Such questions should help you interpret signals you receive from different people in your various spheres of interaction. Also, are you changing your introduction based on the situation? You should be. This is important so that your not presenting a cookie-cutter approach which is very easy to pick up on.
- Your body language. Sit if front of a full-length mirror. Study how you look. Be sure to examine all parts of your body. How do you look in different positions? Is your body saying what you want it to say? When you want to appear friendlier, are your arms folded? Are you sitting in a masculine position, when you want to look softer? Once you are aware of how you look, you can make little changes here and there to make your body say what you want it to say.
In business, the handshake is the ultimate body language. A limp handshake tells me your not very confident, but on the other hand an extremely tight handshake tells me you trying to hard. Make sure your handshake is nice, comfortable, and firm. Also, use the full hand instead of just shaking hands with your fingers. A good handshake is basic but it’s very powerful.
- Your business approach. Professionals today need to know the new rules in business. In life the Golden Rule is, “Do unto others as you will have them do unto you.” In business however, you need to go by the Platinum Rule, “Do unto others the way they want to be treated.” There are many ways to approach business from an image standpoint but we tend to make mistakes that can be avoided very easily. The problem: we forget to pay attention to the details.
The following are some basic business image mistakes to avoid regarding the way you approach business:
- Sending out sloppy business materials
- Not doing what you say you are going to do
- Failing to say “thank you” in writing
- Not being punctual, nor informing of an absence
- Not answering important emails and voice mail messages in a timely manner
Of course these are very simple things but sometimes we get caught up in bad image habits. Just be aware and work on avoiding the common mistakes.
- Your appearance. Looking great needn’t be a big deal. It’s a matter of having a simple routine. Here are some quick tips from my image consulting days:
- Men. Facial hair is not a business look, but if you choose to keep it make sure it fits the shape of your face and is trimmed regularly. Minimal cologne is best. Regarding jewelry, watches should be sophisticated and slender (no earrings or rings except for wedding bands). Always make sure your clothing is crisp and clean; most importantly that they fit. There’s nothing worse than a man in suit and it doesn’t fit correctly.
- Women. Keep jewelry simple and elegant; ensure your makeup is light and natural looking. Make sure nails are manicured, and use clear polish or a neutral color. Same goes for women when it comes to clothing as with men. In addition make sure to decide on your business look and stick with it order to project a consistent image. There are many ways to enhance a simple suit with color and accessories, just maintain the look and you’ll be fine.
Special Note: Check your appearance in a three-panel mirror if possible. Watch for scuffs on shoes and wrinkles in clothing.
Color should not overpower you–it should complement your appearance. There are 3 ways to use color in business:
- Powerful – Use high contrast. (Example: Black suit with white shirt)
- Approachable- Use medium to low contrast. (Example: Lavender top with dark purple pants)
- Creative- Use patterns and different textures; experiment with dress. (Example: A dark suit with a Bugs Bunny Tie)
Do not allow your clothing to “wear” you. The wardrobe that works best for you and your business image is less about fashion and more about function.
- Internationally Accepted Guidelines for Dress. Even if you do not deal in International business, you must know the internationally accepted guidelines for Business Dress. No matter where you are, if you see a sign with a fork and knife pictured, what does that mean? Food, right… That is what I mean by internationally accepted guidelines. Here are a few basic wardrobe pieces that works not matter your environment:
- Men. A dark suit, tie, and white or blue dress shirt.
- Women. Matching skirt suit, or a dress, or matching dress and jacket
These are a small portion of the things you can do to take stock in your image, but YOU are an important part in the achievement of your goals. Having the correct outward appearance and the right attitude can, often times, take you farther than education or experience. Source: Synergy Energy by Pam Perry
So, don’t let your BRAND be RAGGEDY! Level Up.… Watch this video and I talk about why it matters – especially if you’re a speaker.